US 7333399 B2
A timekeeping apparatus having a hidden compartment. The compartment can contain permanent or removable psychological messages and/or printed messages, pictures or photographs. The apparatus has a timepiece which is pivotable relative to a backing. The backing has a removable door on its underside which is removed for placement of the message into the backing. The user can then lift open the timepiece to reveal the message in the hidden compartment.
1. A watch assembly comprising:
a timepiece having a watch dial and an underside;
a back assembly for supporting said timepiece, said back assembly including a housing and having a rim;
a pivotable door on the outside of said back assembly, said door having a first housing with a bore therethrough for receiving a first pin, a second housing with a bore therethrough for receiving a second pin, and an elevated surface defined by an annular wall extending upwardly from said pivotable door;
a mounting member for mounting said timepiece on said back assembly; and
a hidden compartment formed between said back assembly and said timepiece for receiving said elevated surface of said pivotable door, said hidden compartment being hidden when said timepiece is closed relative to said back assembly.
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This application claims priority of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/384,243, filed May 30, 2002 and U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/418,694, filed Oct. 16, 2002. This application is also a continuation-in-part application of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/630,056, filed Aug. 1, 2000 now U.S. Pat. No. 6,618,328, which claims the benefit of Provisional Application No. 60/180,543, filed Feb. 7, 2000. This application is a continuation in part of International Application No. PCT/US02/17063, filed May 31, 2002, claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/384,243, filed May 30, 2002.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to clocks, timepieces and watches, particularly but not limited to wristwatches having a watch face which is liftable off of or pivotable from a watch back or backing, the watch back having an outwardly facing member for performing a useful function.
2. Description of the Prior Art
There are many different watches which are on the market or otherwise known for displaying information other than the time which is shown on the watch face. Such other information includes the date, time lapsed for a period being measured, telephone numbers, a computer output, etc. These include access to data bases in the circuitry of electronic watches such as an electronic directory for telephone numbers, a computer for performing mathematical computations, and the like.
Watches are also known where the watch face is movable. There are “flip-over” watches in which the watch face is lifted off the watch back, or alternatively pivoted, and flipped over to reveal some artistic message or the like on the back of the watch face. It is well known to place an inscription on the back of a watch backing (the part of the watch that touches the wrist).
There are many watches having moveable accessories for moving the watch face, for covering the watch face, and for revealing another working component associated with a watch. U.S. Pat. No. Des.285,417 (Nakane) shows a wristwatch which can be removed from a backing on the band, and be replaced with a toy aircraft. U.S. Pat. No. Des.303,503 discloses a wristwatch with a calculator, the calculator having a hinged cover. Disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. Des.339,299 is a wrist band holding a wristwatch, a calculator and a telephone index, these being hinged one on top of the other and accessible for their respective use. In another design patent, U.S. Pat. No. Des.380,293, a wristwatch is hinged to provide the cover for a receptacle between the watch backing and the back side of the watch face. A similar device is shown in U.S. Pat. No. Des.391,872.
There are a number of patents showing watches having moveable parts, other than the workings of the watch itself. In U.S. Pat. No. 1,165,262, a watchband has adjustable spring prongs for holding different sizes of watches. A mounting for a watchcase is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 2,219,277, where a watch face can be removably held in a watchband having a backing for the watch. A hinged arrangement is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,444,513, where a watch face can be rotated to reveal a different watch. One watch can be analog, and the other digital. U.S. Pat. No. 4,903,250 describes a watch having a memo case disposed adjacent the watch. A display face is fixed, and the memo portion is next to it. The memo portion can be replaced with printed cards. Thus, the watch backing is really a receptacle for the printed cards.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,384,756 discloses a combined identification device and wristwatch. The watch face is hinged over a platform holding a microfilm with the wearer's medical information. If the watch face is lifted up, panels, which are biased upwardly, reveal the microfilm. The microfilm is carried in one of the panels, and another panel has a lens for focusing on the microfilm. The watch backing itself is only, in effect, a receptacle for holding the folded panels.
A modular watch having interchangeable elements is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 5,657,298. A rescue watch is described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,663,932 where the watch assembly has a container chamber holding pressurized liquid or gas to provide air for inflating a device, or for spraying an assaulter when the rescue watch is used for self defense. Some of the watches described above are flip-over watches. Another flip-over watch which is currently on the market is called the Basculante watch. However, neither this watch nor the others described above, carry any member on the backing of the watch, that is the plate upon which the watch normally sits, for performing a useful function.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,384,756 (Pelosi) discloses a timepiece for containing personal identification and/or medical information about the person wearing the device. The device of Pelosi '756 has a housing or case with a timepiece which pivots between an open and a closed position about a hinge. The housing or backing of Pelosi '756 is solid where the timepiece and panels are disposed when the timepiece is closed. In other words, Pelosi '756 has no opening, panel or otherwise removable door on the underside of the timepiece.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a functional member in connection with a wristwatch, where the device is not readily apparent to others but which can be accessed by the wearer of the watch as desired.
Another object is to provide a wristwatch with a backing holding a function and therapeutic member.
It is another object of the present invention to provide a wristwatch having a message which can be viewed at the discretion of the wearer, but is generally not observable by others.
It is another object of the present invention to provide various types of messages on the backing of a watch. Such messages could be in writing, artistic messages, scents, musical messages, or other visual or auditory messages.
Another object of the present invention is to provide on or associated with the backing of a watch, a removable and/or exchangeable functional and/or therapeutic member.
Another object of the invention is to provide a watch for transmitting a signal to a remote place.
A further object is to provide a watch with a secret or hidden compartment.
Yet another object is to provide a watch with a hidden compartment having messages, such as written messages, artistic messages, scents, musical messages, visual messages, therapeutic messages or auditory messages, or to contain items such as magnets, pictures, natural or synthetic stones or the like.
It is still a further object of the present invention to provide a wristwatch having a backing with a functional member for generating signals to help find the wristwatch itself or the wearer of the wristwatch if they are lost or otherwise cannot be found. This would be useful at night, under avalanches, in the water, etc.
It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a means for lifting a watch face from a watch backing to render a functional and therapeutic member on the watch backing accessible and useable.
The foregoing and other objects of the invention are achieved by means of a wristwatch having a back or backing upon which the watch face (which includes the watch workings) is entirely or partially removable to render a useful device on the watch backing accessible for use. The useful device can be messages which can be permanent, removable, or exchangeable, and could be placed directly on the watch backing itself or on an appropriate disc for holding the message. The message can be a psychological, therapeutic message as discussed below, olfactory messages generating a particular type of aroma, auditory messages such as those produced by particular electronic chips, certain crystals or stones, a photograph or other pictures, an advertising or organizational message, and the like. A person wearing a wristwatch of the foregoing type can gain access to the functional and/or therapeutic member easily and often without the observation of others, to obtain the desired purpose of the member. The watch can have a hidden or secret compartment for containing a variety of messages or for holding a variety of things. The face of the watch can have many shapes, and could be round, square, oval, rectangular, etc.
The invention further involves a functional member mounted on the backing of a watch which can be relayed to a remote place. This would include means for generating a signal such as a visual, auditory, olfactory or electronic signal. Such signals could be observed or otherwise recognized by the wearer of the watch, or else could be useful to third parties and the remote place.
The invention involves a watch having a hidden compartment located between the backing of the watch and the face of the watch, the hidden compartment having a variety of functions. The hidden compartment can hold a message-generating item. The message can be a printed psychological message. The messages can be beneficial to the wearer of a watch. Psychological studies have shown that when a person continually provides positive and informative statements to themselves throughout the day, those persons actually unleash energy to provide for change. These studies show outcomes as varied as increased concentration, athletic ability, business achievements, and well-being. When these persons spend time in this positive way, it actually reduces the distractions of daily life which interfere with brain activity. At the same time, it raises a person's level of consciousness around a desired goal. This, in turn, provides a real pathway to accomplish what these persons want. It also provides a way to increase one's feelings of power, thereby, working more intensively and efficiently.
The watch according to some embodiments of the present invention helps people realize their own inner resources and command change.
Most people are very concerned about the time of day throughout the day as well as the amount of time it takes to do various things in the course of a day. A watch is therefore a very important part of the items which people use. A watch according to some embodiments of the present invention provides a message area on the watch backing which can be hidden from others in a secret compartment, which holds a message such as a psychological message. Whenever a person wants to check the time, or even without checking the time, the person can effect movement of the watch face from the watch backing to view the message and obtain its psychological benefit. The message can be an inner statement which the person can look at and repeat. This message, when viewed, can constantly reinforce its benefit as the message is viewed and repeated. In another embodiment, a mood sensing stone is provided on the watch for contacting with the user's skin. The stone changes color according to the user's mood which the user then can focus on changing.
The watch according to the invention can be used to hold photographs, other pictures or mementos. It could thus hold a photograph of a family member, friend or acquaintance. It could contain medical or other personal information about the wearer. It could contain information about an organization such as a place of employment, a fraternal, religious or governmental organization, or an advertisement. It could also hold secret information such as combinations, microfilm and electronic chips, and a great many other types of material.
Turning first to
Turning next to
Referring next to
Timepiece 21 is preferably held in its closed position by a releasable latch, and a button or other release mechanism releases the latch. A spring or other biasing means can bias the timepiece to its open position.
Another embodiment of the invention is shown in
A more detailed view of a hinged watch according to the invention is shown in
Watch assembly 71 has a message assembly 83 which includes a glass panel 85, a message compartment 87 for holding the plaque with the message and a rear push door 89. In order to install a message, rear push door is opened or removed, and a message plaque is inserted against panel 85. The message is placed so that it can be viewed from above, that is from the direction from timepiece 73. Door 89 is then closed or replaced and watch assembly 71 is ready for use. Secret compartments can be located above door 89 or beneath timepiece 73 as shown in the drawings.
A further embodiment of the invention is shown in
A variation on the foregoing embodiment is shown in
Another embodiment of the invention is shown in
Yet another embodiment of the invention is shown in
Alternatively, all of the foregoing items which are included in timepiece 123, can be included in backing 131, as explained earlier. In this case, timepiece 123 would be a cover for the messages and means for emitting the messages, in backing 131.
Another embodiment is shown in
Still yet another embodiment of the present invention is shown in
A particularly preferred embodiment of the invention is shown in
Timepiece 202 is connected to the balance of watch assembly 200 by means of a hinge 230 of any appropriate type. Hinge 230 has components on both a forward wall 234 of rim 208 and on a rim 235 of timepiece 202, which are preferably located in line with a band 237 or with the holding members 239 for the band. Rim 208 has at its forward wall 234 an appropriate notch 236 incorporated therein for receiving a manual wind or setting or control button 237 when timepiece 202 is closed in rim 208. Hinge 230 is preferably of the type which enables timepiece 202 to remain at whatever angle it is opened to rather than being biased to an open or closed position, although the latter are within the scope of the invention.
An appropriate device should be incorporated to latch the timepiece in a locked position in order to protect the timepiece and the watch assembly, as well as to maintain the secrecy of the compartment(s): (There is one compartment between the inside surface 211 of back plate 210 and glass or plastic piece 228, and a second compartment between piece 228 and back 230 of timepiece 202. Of course, if piece 228 is omitted as explained above, there is just one compartment.) When timepiece 202 is closed, timepiece rests in the upper compartment of back assembly 204 while the message is secured in the lower compartment of back assembly 204, able to be viewed through glass or plastic piece 228. A locking device 238 that has been found to be particularly beneficial is a retractable pin assembly 240 having a pin 242 biased outwardly from rim 208, and a flange 244 extending from the housing of timepiece 202 having a closed end bore 246 for receiving pin 242 to keep timepiece 202 in a locked position. Flange 244 has a manual handle or knob 248 which a wearer of watch assembly 200 could grasp with his or her fingers to rotate timepiece 202 about a hinge 230, and in so doing having the edge around bore 246 retract pin 242. In order to close timepiece 202, the reverse action is taken. Knob 248 can carry a logo of a school, organization or the like, an advertising message, the name of an organization the name, abbreviation or initials of the wearer and the like.
Watch assembly 200 is a very effective unit. It looks and operates as a conventional watch. Photographs, discs or the like can easily be inserted or removed from the secret compartment. One can easily view the photograph, disc or the like by simply rotating the timepiece from its closed to an open position. Timepiece 202 is shown openable in the direction of the user's wrist band 240, or pivotable away from the user, shown at directional arrow A. It should be appreciated that timepiece 202 can alternatively be opened towards the user (in the opposite direction of arrow A) or in either sideways directions wherein hinge 230 is moved to either side of watch assembly 200.
An additional preferred embodiment of the invention is depicted in
Pivotable backing 306 also includes a pushpin housing 314 at one end of pivotable backing 306. In this instance, because pivotable backing 306 pivots downwardly relative to back assembly 304, housing 314 is located at the top of backing 306. It should be appreciated that the exact location of housing 314 on backing 306 will depend on the direction pivotable backing 306 opens. Housing 314 includes an annular bore 316 therethrough, an annular upper surface 317 and a pin 318 which extends through bore 316. Each end of pin 318 holds a retractable ball bearing 319.
Back assembly 304 also comprises a pushpin housing compartment 320 comprising a compartment ledge 322, a back wall 323 and opposing sidewalls 324. A mating hole 326 is located on each of opposing sidewalls 324. When pivotable backing 306 is closed, pushpin housing 314 rests inside pushpin housing compartment 320. Retractable ball bearings 319 retract in order to allow housing 314 to be placed between sidewalls 324, and then ball bearings 319 return to normal position within corresponding mating holes 326. The securing of retractable ball bearings 319 with corresponding mating holes 326 locks or snaps pivotable backing 306 in a closed position relative to back assembly 304, thereby securing the message or insert within. When pivotable backing 304 is closed, housing 314 is secured within compartment 320. A space 321 remains above compartment 320, space 320 able to receive a tool for dislodging housing from 314 from compartment 320, thereby allowing backing 304 to be opened. In other words, when the watch wearer desires to gain access into back assembly 304, he or she inserts a tool, such as a coin, into space 321 to dislodge housing 314 from compartment 320.
Pivotable backing 306 further includes a pivot assembly 328 pivotably securing pivotable backing 306 at its end opposite that from pushpin housing 314 with back assembly 304. Referring specifically to
Timepiece 302 is connected to the balance of watch assembly 300 in the same manner as that described in the previous embodiment. All features of the connection between timepiece 302 and watch assembly 300 are included in this reference, along with all the aforementioned features regarding the opening and closing of timepiece 302 relative to watch assembly 300. A detailed description thereof is omitted for the sake of brevity.
The foregoing embodiments could also be used for clocks. For example, a free standing clock having a hinged or otherwise moveable clock section can be opened from a closed position to yield a clock back having the message bearing plaques or other functional member. The concept could also be employed in other such horological instruments such as lockets, pendants, rings, etc.
The invention has been described in detail, with particular emphasis being placed on the preferred embodiments thereof, but variations and modifications may occur to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains.